Politics in Belmont

October 1, 2007 at 9:59 am 10 comments

1. Former councilwoman, Jane Ray has withdrawn from the city council race. Reported by the County Board of Elections. No reason given –

We suspect that a recent meeting at a prominent citizen’s home prompted several people to reconsider their candidacies. With 10, now 9, running in the Belmont municipal election certain incumbents have a slight leg up with a dilution of votes available.

As of October 1, we haven’t seen the typical growth of candidate signs around town as in previous years. Maybe the the drought has kept down the weeds so to speak, hmmm?

One candidate, neighbor, Richard Turner, must have an axe to grind with someone. His recent letter to the editor of the Belmont Banner suggests that city staff need be more accountable to council, and of course, he’s just the one to be the best for the job.

2. When are the community forums that have been successful in the past? Oh, wait, Charlie Martin is already on council — no need for those now — just ask Charlie, he has all the facts.

3. Haven’t seen much about the Parks and Recreation Bonds either in the papers or in flyers or letters. While we feel that this is a good step for the department, it seems that the staff and recreation advisory council needs to get on the ball. 

There is a very quiet effort, led by a couple of incumbent council members to see that the bond question is defeated. Shades of a past election where a secret write-in campaign brought back the consumate politician/slumlord, Billy Joye. This campaign looks very, very similar.

4. Is development even an issue with the candidates for council? Or are they all on the payroll of a real estate company in some form or another?

Incumbents running for re-election:

becky-burch.jpg     charlie-flowers.jpg     irl-dixon.jpg


Entry filed under: Belmont, Belmont Banner, Bond Referendums, City Council, Economic Development, Elections, Front Porch, Land use, Life, News, Parks and Recreation, Politics, Quality of Life, Roads, School, Small Town, Walmart Effect.

Girl Found Living In Giant Pumpkin Belmont Abbey College to honor Charlie Martin with top alumni award

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Geno  |  October 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Mrs. Ray has withdrawn due to serious health concerns about which she learned after filing. Additionally- the write-in campaign for Billy Joye was anything but secret! LOL. HUNDREDS were involved in that going door to door!

  • 2. Geno  |  October 7, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Additionally…at least one person running for council ( that I know of) is greatly concerned about growth and development and its effect on our quality of life. That would be Dennis Boyce – who would also bring much needed representation on council for North Belmont!

  • 3. Frogman  |  October 22, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    I have heard good things about Martha Stowe and Turner. Don’t forget to come to the candidates forum at the East Campus of Gaston College 10-22-07 at 6:30pm. Also, VOTE, Nov 6th!

  • 4. Frogman  |  October 23, 2007 at 10:59 am

    If you missed the candidatates forum last night you missed an excellent opportunity to meet and hear the candidates for Belmont City Council . Many tanks to the Belmont Banner for organizing this much needed event! I have to say that I was surprised at some of the things I heard and it has changed my mind about several of the candiates and reinforced feelling about others. Here is a quick summary of my opinion of the candidates – but don’t take my word or anyone elses, meet them and decide for yourself!

    Dennis Boyce – a North Belmont resident who seems to have bone to pick over water and sewer issues and advocating strongly for North Belmont. He seemed uniformed and off the cuff in many or his responses and also a bit excitable. No prior political experience or community involvement. Seemed to go along with flow and not generate many new ideas. Sorry, Dennis, but I was not impressed.

    Becky Burch – Becky is not particularly well spoken, doesn’t seem to hear well and doesn’t produce extremely cohesive thoughts. She is running for re-election and apparently has a strong following. Her main emphasis is on Senior Citizens, which seems to be bit self serving, since she is one. I did not hear any fresh ideas from her. She does not represent the City very well and I think she should retire. While I’m sure we appreciate her service to the community, we desperately need some new blood.

    Charlie Flowers – (see comments for Becky Burch). Yes, their signs are usually beside each other, that’s because they represent the same platform, age group, etc. Charlie and Becky obviously need to retire, but should NOT be under estimated as they have strong followings! Please do not dilute the votes, but voting for some of the poltically inactive, uninvolved, new comers are these two WILL GET RE-ELECTED!!!

    Irl Dixon – a middle age guy running for re-election. Irl came off as experienced, intelligent, and sincere. I really liked him and he presented fresh ideas about managing growth, such as requiring developers to build a school for the Pittenger project (1000+homes proposed behind Southpoint). I think Irl has done a great job and brings a lot to the table, mainly experience and knowledge. He is one of the few candiates who spoke knowledgably on every questions posed. He has shown is willingness to serve Belmont and would be a good choice.

    Ron Foulk – Although Ron is a political newcomer he has been a school principal for 30 years. I like the fact that he knows what happens to schools when growth explodes and I would expect he would try to protect Belmont from that. He came across as thoughful, intellegent, and informed on most of the subjects. He is mature and commited, unlike some of the other Johnny Come Lately’s. I think Ron would also do a good job for Belmont if elected.

    Martha Stowe – Martha is a school teacher running for election and has run before, but never been elected. She is the only credible female running and I thought she came across well. Her assets are her involvement in the community with Keep Belmont Beautiful, church work, and her association with the school system. I think Martha would do a good job on council and I am impressed with her positive attitude. Go Martha!

    Curtis Gaston – Curtis Gaston is the son of Harley Gaston, which he made very clear to everyone in a long monolouge he read which disrespectfully went well over the allotted time. He just moved back to Belmont from Hollywood, where he starred as extra’s in movies apparently, and has been gone for, what 20 years? He was clueless on most of the questions and when speaking about the new identity of Bemont, suggested that Belmont recruit “Hollywood Money” by having movies made here. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like job security for Mr. Gaston, not what Bemont needs! He is completely inexperienced politically and has done nothing in the community before. He lacks both knowledge and background of important issues facing Belmont and may be here today and gone tomorrow? He is an artist, not a politician. He does not own property in Belmont either according to Gaston County GIS. He is 44 and unmarried, no kids, so much for knowledge of schools! While Curtis may have promise, based on his family name ONLY, he lacks knowledge, experience, and perhaps a residency requirement? Just say NO to Curtis Gaston, as there are better choices.

    Richard Turner – Yes I saved the best for last. Richard outshined everyone at the forum with his highly intelligent responses, knowledge, and new ideas on managing growth ( a central theme at the forum). Richard has lived here 15 years and has been very involved in the PTO, and is married with kids. He is a super nice guy and would do a great job representing Belmont. He is level headed, educated, and committed to our community. While a political newcomer, he has shown interest and involvement in the community. You would had to have been there to see what a great job he did with each question and I think he really would be a great asset to Belmont! Best of luck to you Richard!

    Now having given my opinion, I would like to hear yours. What do you know about these candidates that I don’t? Share with us what you think and why, so we can all make the best choices possible on November 6th! See you at the polls!

  • 5. Blythe  |  October 24, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Excellent evaluation Frogman, I completely agree. If Belmont doesn’t listen looks like we will have the same ole same for another two more long years. I voting for Turner, Stowe, and Foulk, let’s just start clean with the best three for the job!

  • 6. Dennis Boyce  |  October 25, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    1. Growth – We must have the courage to say no to growth that would continue to strain our schools and roads. Developers have had “carte blanche” for way too long.

    2. North Belmont – No taxation without representation; North Belmont needs and deserves representation on Council. As the only candidate running from North Belmont, Dennis Boyce would help this neighborhood to become a more integrated part of Belmont as a whole. Our students would no longer be ignored when Council approves scholarship money for “students from South Point High School.” We matter.

    3. Infrastructure – There are neighborhoods in Belmont whose sewers were built by the Franklin Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression. Our citizens deserve working sewers. A creative Council will find a way to make this happen.

    4. Schools – The Boyce children attend North Belmont Elementary where there is no longer a classroom for music and art. Because of overcrowding and statutory limits, the music teacher must now ride a circuit classroom to classroom and the art teacher is housed in the library. While City Council doesn’t have the authority to build schools per se, our Belmont’s Council should build relationship with and officially lobby Gaston County Schools and the Gaston County Commission to make sure that our classroom needs are met. Council must advocate for its citizens. I support the School Bond Referendum.

    5. Roads – South Point Road is extremely congested. Limiting growth will keep this problem from worsening rapidly. We must have a Council that is able and willing to build relationships with our state government so that our roads become a priority.

    6. Alcohol at public events – Events do not require alcohol to be successful. The great Dean Smith successfully campaigned to have alcohol banned from all NCAA collegiate sporting events, but the Final Four has continued to flourish.

    7. Crime – We must make sure that our police department is properly equipped to successfully maintain our low crime rates. Drugs and gang activity cannot be allowed to gain footing here, just across the river from Charlotte. Crime is often a byproduct of unfettered growth…another compelling reason to slow down.

    8. Tourism – Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, the National Whitewater Training Center, the Catawba River, the South Fork River are all tourist destinations that we should leverage and support to bring tourist dollars to Belmont.

    9. Industry – It is the job of Council to find and recruit industry to help replace the textile plants that once sustained our town. Belmont is a great place to do business, but we cannot wait for companies to discover us! We must ask them to come. We may have to provide incentives, we may have to sell ourselves, but we must not be passive.

    10. Parks – While I support the $12 million bond referendum to build new parks, there must be real accountability for this money. Further, I do not support eminent domain to gain additional land for parks.

  • 7. Frogman  |  October 26, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Hi Dennis, I appreciate your candid comments. It’s nice of you to share your views so openly, although I can’t say I agree with all of them. In particular I take issue with:

    #2 – No representation? Are you suggesting that North Belmont has no representation at all from the City Council of Belmont or that you don’t believe in taxes? I think the council has worked very hard to incorporate the City into one united being. I have gone to several Land Use Community Planning Meeting that focused on this and took opinions of all the citizens issues. I don’t buy this one.

    #3 – All cities and towns in America have sewers with this age sewer systems. It’s not an uncommon problem, nor has is only been neglected in North Belmont. Ever heard of East Belmont? The City will respond to these issues but it takes both time and money.

    #6 – I do drink and think it’s fine as long as you don’t drink and drive.

    #9 – As Irl Dixon stated at the forum, For Industry to come to town, you must have cheap land and we don’t have any. End of story, unless you too want to focus on bringing in that Hollywood Money (as suggested by Curtis Gaston)? Just kidding Dennis!

    On all the others ones I would tend to agree with your opinion. The only issue I have with your candidacy, is your prior lack of civic and political involvement. Why don’t you get involved and then run again in 2 years and then I would consider supporting you.

  • 8. TheDude1369  |  October 28, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    frogman. your opinions need a little fact finding. as belmont brethren, i would hate to see you make a decision without the facts and only surface observations during a formal gathering. maybe call or e-mail the candidates to get the facts. regardless, your opinions are probaly not a consensus. the incumbents will do well. this is belmont. bonds will probaly get nixed. not many people vote affirmative to raise taxes. putting us top of county after seven years. 55-58 cents per 100 with increasing addtional taxes, sales (its’ coming), fees and rate increases because the stowes got tired of cheap water and working for a living. do you really think we will issue 2mm dollars then suddenly find millions of donations. nope. the plan is 12mm and it will all be used within the time frame, of course. it is one of the worst referendums ever. a credit card for developers and their amentities. a 12million dollar subsidy to the landowners who have been so generous to the people who built “their town”. shut the mills, we can’t make enough money. sell all the land, it’s the only thing left. by the way, the “pittenger” land is not owned by the slime. it is owned by guess who?

  • 9. TheDude1369  |  October 29, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    frogman, i think dennis is talking about north belmont being historically separated from belmont proper and areas south. plus north belmont and catawba heights have always been very close between towns, alot of crossover with mt holly. your both right. the money has gone downtown but the new streetscape in east end is something. bottom line, we need money for water and sewer replacements and upgrades. people been smelling methane a long time in some areas. plus the mills are pulling out. i am not an engineer but i know what i smell.

  • 10. Frogman  |  October 29, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Hey Dude, just to clarify, The Stowes are closing the mills due to China, not due laziness! Also, Martha Stowe is a teacher at South Point and is not from the side of the family that owns the mills. Martha is humble, kind and has worked hard for years to make Belmont better with Keep Belmont Beautiful. She is the most competent woman running and would do a fine job on council. Also, unlike other candidates she will still be working to improve Belmont, even is she is NOT elected. Go Martha!

    The rest of your comments don’t even make sense to me, sorry.


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